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We can’t do anything without timing and co-ordination. From everyday tasks like tying a shoelace to highly involved things like flying a plane, the ability to co-ordinate our movements in the right time and space is vital.
This should be obvious when it comes to martial arts and self defence and there are various training methods in most styles to develop this. What is the Systema approach? The first thing is to establish a base level of working, which we do by ingraining good posture, breathing, smooth movement and a balanced mental state. This condition will already make it much easier to harmonise our actions and intentions. This state also helps increase awareness, both of self and of others.
Taking this as a given, are there any specific exercises that we can do to develop T&C? This is something we will be exploring in class over the next couple of months. Of course you are welcome to join us! But if that is not practical, I will be releasing some short clips over the coming weeks to give you some ideas, plus possible a full length download tying all our ideas and methods together.
There is one major point to make about this type of drill though. It is not uncommon to see people doing drills like, say, moving a ball against the wall, or working with a tennis ball on a string, or any of the other various methods. That is well and good. BUT – you have to have a method of transferring the skills and attributes you develop from those drills over into “real life”. For example it is not enough to roll a ball around, then think that the sensitivity you gain will magically appear if you are in a fight.
This is an area where Systema shines. If you know how, you can use Systema to “unlock” these isolated skills and bring them into a cohesive whole. Systema can do this as it doesn’t rely on fixed movements, there are no limitations of style. Your only limits are your resources and your imagination. This is where creativity and the ability to think laterally are important.
There is a Youtube clip of David Bowie doing the rounds at the moment (see below) where he talks about creativity in terms of not pandering to the crowd and also a feeling of “just being out of your depth”. To me this perfectly describes aspects of our training method. It is very easy to copy technique, to stick to a syllabus, to stay “on the tracks” and, of course, from a martial art business perspective this makes sense. However it is outside of the tracks that innovation and development most often occur – in martial arts, music or in anything else.
So in Systema we have the opportunity take a drill such as rolling a ball around, then work with a partner to discover how to apply those skills. This will usually be done in stages, from slow, measured and co-operative work up to training with speed and resistance or in some kind of simulation, as described in The Ten Points of Sparring book
Keep an eye out then for some forthcoming clips and a download on T&C development drills and, of course, we would be happy to hear any ideas of your own. In the meantime I will leave you with the joke about the drummer who was so depressed by his poor timing that he threw himself behind a train......